Seeking A Friend for the End of the World: A Different Look at the Apocalypse
This movie never reached Philippine shores last year and I’m not even sure if Filipino viewers are aware that such film existed. I am quite glad I was able to get a copy of this film, albeit a pirated one (guilty!). Being a confessed Steve Carell fan (I found him hilarious in Bruce Almighty and the 40 Year Old Virgin), I am always interested in watching his films. This movie was released late last year in the US in time for the antipicated (not to mention much dreaded by some) Mayan apocalypse, which didn’t happen by the way. So much for the media hype!
The basic premise of the movie is: If you knew the world ended anytime soon and your family couldn’t be with you, would you settle for a stranger to be at your side?
SUMMARY OF THE MOVIE
The movie played out this theme with two people who never knew each other before (played by Steve Carell of Evan Almighty and Keira Knightley of Pirates of the Carribean) but who, by some stroke of wicked luck, eventually crossed paths just as the world was coming to a final end. The movie starts the scene with Dodge Petersen (played by Carell) and his wife are in their car listening to the news about the asteroid that was to strike the earth in a few days. Dodge’s wife rushes out of the car, leaving Dodge behind and never coming back. He runs into Penny (Knightley), who happens to be his neighbour and was booted out by her boyfriend. The two somehow strike a friendship and go on a road trip to reconnect with Dodge’s first love and make amends with his father. The mishaps and events that happened enroute to their destination make this movie very entertaining without being overly tragic, at least to me personally.
REDEMPTION BY RECONNECTING WITH THE PAST
I felt Dodge’s mixed desperation and indifference of the situation, being abandoned by his wife at a time like that and feeling the heavy burden caused by the strained relationship with his father. It was no closure at all. As a last ditch effort to redeem himself from desperation, Dodge and Penny decide to take a long trip to find the former’s past flame and reciprocally help Penny get a lift to England to be with her parents for one last time. It was all or nothing for Dodge and Penny. They had nothing to lose anyway, with the world ending in a few days.
Similarly, Penny’s sadness and isolation of being left alone in the US by her boyfriend was truly tragic. Without anybody to cling to, she had no choice but to stay with a total stranger. Even as she had fallen in love with Dodge along the way, her uncertainties remained palpable until the last scene, as booming sounds in the background could be heard, heralding approaching death. The last scene ends with both of them on the bed facing each other until the bright light obliterated the scene.
MY TWO CENTS WORTH
Despite of what critics say about the film, I appreciate the honesty and humanity that the director (Lorene Scafaria) tried to sum up in this movie. Carell is really good at playing goofball characters, and this is just one of his many works.
The movie forced me to think what I would have done in that situation. Would I make the most of my situation? The fact that Scafaria chose a veteran comedian to essay the main character tones down the grimness of the movie. You forget that the movie is about the world coming to an end!
If only for the message that this movie tries to convey, I’d recommend watching it anytime. Don’t expect hard laughs in this one, and if you’re a cry baby you’d better bring a tissue for safe measure.